According to Inside Higher Ed, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has blocked the appointment of Steven G. Salaita to its faculty. Illinois made its appointment public a few weeks ago—and Salaita was to start teaching in the American Indian studies program later this month.
But Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik writes that according to two sources, Salaita lost his opportunity due to the “tone” of his recent pro-Palestinian tweets:
The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of his comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza. While many academics at Illinois and elsewhere are deeply critical of Israel, Salaita’s tweets have struck some as crossing a line into uncivil behavior.
Salaita’s Twitter account has gone silent in recent days.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is not new to controversy. The school retired its mascot, Chief Illiniwek, in 2007, but it remains a presence on campus, causing some students serious distress. And after the school’s chancellor, Phyllis Wise, declined to declare a snow day on a particularly cold day this January, students soon took to Twitter to make racist and sexist attacks against her.
J Kēhaulani Kauanui, an associate professor at Wesleyan, has created an action page on Facebook to back Salaita, asking supporters to call and write their complaints about blocking his hire to Chancellor Wise.